Friday, 9 May 2008


Cooking from scratch with wholefoods, preferably local and organic, is the best food for human and planetary health. But this is something not usually the case in kitchens across the country, whether at home or in restaurants.

It is therefore particularly refreshing to hear Gordon Ramsey forcefully stating the importance of seasonal food. Not only has he rightfully slated Delia Smith's stance on food (not really caring about its freshness, provenance or method of production), but he goes as far as saying that restaurants should be fined for using out of season produce.

Food transport makes up a large proportion of the carbon footprint of food; air freighting of food, in particular, is incredibly damaging to our environment. To put this in to context, to move 1kg of strawberries from Kent to London creates 0.017kg of CO2. To move those strawberries all the way from Kent to Scotland creates 0.145kg of CO2. But if 1kg of strawberries are sourced (out of season) from Israel, the CO2 emissions rocket to a colossal 4.6kg.

Out of season produce is a luxury of rich countries and an oil-rich world - without excess money or oil this simply would not be possible. So next time you look at, for example, French beans from Kenya, asparagus from Columbia or apples from USA think how they got on to the shelf in front of you.

Eating seasonally is a much more rewarding way of cooking and eating food. Nature provides an incredible diversity of foods right through the year and there is no reason why you cannot have a diverse and interesting diet when eating purely seasonal foods. The taste of strawberries in June, new potatoes in May or even purple sprouting in January is simply unsurpassed.

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